Why We Must Reject Special Treatment for Religious Employees

Four months ago, I began looking for two full-time employees to help my publishing business with research and sales. Before I interviewed anyone, I wrote an exhaustive job description for both positions, and e-mailed it to each viable candidate.

After I’d found the right duo, the contracts were signed, and I was looking forward to many pleasant office interactions — and higher revenues!

But trouble soon started when my first hire, Miriam, informed me that she is Amish, and is extremely uncomfortable around computers, iPads, cell phones, routers, and anything to do with the Internet. For religious reasons, she declined to work with technology, but offered to do research using the newspapers and books in my local library, which is still powered by an old-fashioned card catalog.

The other newcomer on my staff also threw me for a loop. Though Avram is a sales rep who was expected to frequently travel to book fairs and literary festivals, his Jewish faith came first. On his first Monday, Avram told me he won’t work or even fly on the Sabbath. As some of these crucial industry events take place on weekends, my company’s bottom line would be suffering.

Though I liked Avram and Miriam, I told them after a few weeks that it wasn’t going to work out. I gave them each a pink slip and a pretty generous check, and wished them the best.

Now I’m being sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for “violating the religious rights” of my ex-employees.

What do you think? Fair?

[Click headline for more…] [Read more…]

What Obstacles Do Young Atheists Face?

I’m working on a project with a local professor called The Atheist Voice in which I tackle some burning question people often ask atheists.

The video below answers the question: What Obstacles Do Young Atheists Face?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next! [Read more…]

What Has Religion Done for Us This Month? Episode 7

Daniel is back with another montage of some of the awful things done in the name of God over the past month:

(via ConversationWithA) [Read more…]

Atheist Church Coming to New York City Bikini Bar

The Sunday Assembly, the “atheist church service” that has made a splash in London and beyond, is coming to America this summer and the first service has been scheduled to take place in Manhattan on June 30th at 12:30p at Tobacco Road, a bikini bar and concert venue:

Normally a “bikini bar” and music venue that features scantily clad female bartenders, the otherwise uninvolved proprietors of Tobacco Road have agreed accommodate a family friendly crowd by asking employees to cover up.

“Lots of people are giving us warnings that it’s going to be different over there, but so far, we’ve just had a lot of support from the people in America,” co-founder and stand-up comic Sanderson Jones told the Daily News.

[Click headline for more…] [Read more…]

Free Parking for the Religious in This British Town, but Atheists Are Out of Luck

If you happen to find yourself in Woking, Surrey, a large British town of some 100,000 people, you might be entitled to free Sunday parking in local municipal garages. But there’s a catch: the offer is valid only if you’re religious.

In that case, a local church or mosque will validate your parking stub. So count your blessings… and your savings! Woking subsidizes “religious” parking to the tune of £41,000 ($64,000) a year.

Ray Morgan, Woking council’s chief executive, said people shouldn’t have to “pay to pray”:

“We take a view that those people who worship… have a special role in our society,” he said. “The way austerity is going in our society, faith groups might be the only people left standing who are doing any of the lower level social care.”

The view seems to be that being a worshipper “encourages one to participate in society.”

[Click headline for more…] [Read more…]